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Furever Family Day June 6, 2014

Posted by angebhart in Dog, Life, Mocha Jo, musings.
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Today is an extra special day for The Boy and I: it’s Mocha Jo’s Furever Family Day.

One year ago, we adopted our little Mocha Jo, and all three of our lives were forever changed. To celebrate, we had a party, complete with a made-for-dogs peanut butter cake.

cake

We also had party hats, which Mocha Jo wasn’t exactly a fan of.

party girl

At least not until her dad showed her that cool kids wear party hats.

mocha and her dad

But more importantly, there was cake and ice cream, which Mocha Jo was a fan of.

cake and ice cream

Mocha eating

It’s hard to believe it has been a whole year since we brought her home, but it’s been a great year. The Boy and I really couldn’t have adopted a better dog. She is the sweetest and most humble dog you’ll ever meet.

It makes my heart happy that The Boy and I could give this once stray dog a better life. Between her parents (who are clearly wrapped around her paw) and her ever-doting aunts and uncles, two sets of grandparents , and all her friends (seriously, she has more of a social calendar than I do…), Mocha Jo’s life is now full of love.

She’s certainly gotten the happily ever after she deserves.

happy

What a hunk! May 29, 2014

Posted by angebhart in Dog, Mocha Jo.
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This news is long overdue, but nonetheless exciting: I am finally an aunt!

Last month, my older sister adopted Hurley, an almost 5-year-old yellow Labrador.

meet hurley

My little nephew is crazy, but oh-so adorable. I don’t think I have ever met a dog who likes to fetch quite as much as he does. And, we’ve officially deemed him a little dog in a big dog’s body. Regardless of how many times he has and will continue to tromp over my vital organs while I am on my couch, he always means well – except for when he feels his tennis ball is being threatened.

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During his first couple of weeks, Hurley was pretty anxious about his new home and family; but as he continues settling in, it is clear Hurley is the perfect addition to my sister’s life and our dog-loving family (particularly since he completes the lab trifecta). And, as far as Mocha Jo is concerned, well, let’s just say she has a new best friend.

mocha and hurley

While Hurley has enough energy to seem like the younger one, he has taken little Mocha under his wing, showing her how big dogs swim at the dog park. I’d love to go back to the days when Mocha and I left the dog park completely dry, but it is both entertaining and endearing to watch the two together.

Welcome to the family, Hurley!

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The end of a season April 29, 2014

Posted by angebhart in inspired, Life, musings, Nebraska ONE, volleyball.
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For the past two weeks, I have been jazzed to give my 14-year-old volleyball girls their end-of-the-season gift. It is common for me to be excited about unveiling my end-of-the-season gift, simply because I give my team pretty unique gifts, but this year I was more excited than usual.

Last year, I was pretty ding-dang-dong impressed with my gift from last year (which I just now realized I never blogged about…), but this year, I outdid myself.

This year, I used my graphic design skills to create a 12×36” team poster for my team.

illusion

And I tell you what, the looks on the girls’ and their parents’ faces were priceless. Their reactions made the time and effort I put into this project totally worth it.

Because of how awesome my gift was, I went to my volleyball club’s award night this past weekend convinced I would win the “best coaches gift” award (a completely non-existent award I was going to award to myself after I confirmed I did in fact have the best team gift). While I am still certain I would have won this award, should it actually exist, my club awarded me something better: coach of the year.

While I am excited and honored to be named coach of the year by my club, the award took me by complete surprise. Since I was so wrapped up in a make-believe award that I was going to award myself later, I completely forgot my club even named a coach of the year. So, as the director was leading into the award, I started trying to guess who of the coaches I know would win it.

Then the club director said “Andrea” –  to which my mind immediately jumped to the other Andrea who coaches for our club.

But then, the director said “Gebhart” – to which my immediate response was “oh?!” (Seriously, you can even ask the girls that were sitting next to me.)

As 400-some people started clapping for me and looking in my general direction, it dawned on me that I won an award, an award that was not a figment of my own imaginative yet somewhat narcissistic imagination. I made my way up to the front and as the director said some nice things about me, I stood there, looked at all the familiar faces in the crowd, and thought how lucky I am to be part of such a great club.

I have coached for Nebraska ONE for five seasons (I think?!?), and I cannot even begin to imagine coaching elsewhere. The players are fantastic, the players’ families are amazing, the other coaches are incredible, and the directors are supportive. This club is also a continual reminder of the reason I love volleyball: the family that comes with it. Nebraska ONE truly has become part of my Nebraska family.

So, while I went to our awards night ready to give myself my own make-believe award, I left humbled and grateful.

After having a successful season, designing an epic team gift, and being named coach of the year, I’d have to say it was a dang good season!

Mocha Jo Rescue Day February 4, 2014

Posted by angebhart in Dog, Life, Mocha Jo.
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Today is a special day in my house.

Today is Miss Mocha Jo’s Rescue Day.

One year ago today, during a bout of particularly cold winter weather, Kathy from K9 Coach Learning Center opened both her home and her heart to our little Mocha Jo.

Mocha Jo rescue

Like last year, today is a winter weathery kind of day. A few inches of snow have already fallen, the wind chill is in the negatives, schools and offices are closed, and we’re expected to get several more inches of snow over the next 24 hours.

While Mocha and I did venture out in the winter weather for a quick trip to the dog park, it made my heart happy knowing that she is comfortably on the other side of the winter weather this year. Actually, she’s very comfortable this time around…

mocha jo cozy

In addition to a trip to the dog park, Mocha Jo also got a special rescue day treat.

rescue day treat

As I mentioned before, The Boy and I don’t know all the details of Miss Mocha Jo before Kathy brought her in (and maybe it’s best we don’t know), but it’s a bit of a sore spot that we don’t know her actual birthday. However, between The Boy’s and my early February birthdays, it’s only appropriate that Mocha’s rescue anniversary allows her to have an early February celebration, too.

A Year to Remember January 20, 2014

Posted by angebhart in arts & crafts, challenge, DIY, pinterest.
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As you may recall, I kept myself pretty busy during December. After crafting holiday sweaters, making stockings, holiday shopping for both the family I “adopted” and my own family, and doing a few small crafts for The Boy’s family, I ran out of time (and effort) to do something for my coworkers. It’s not that I don’t value them as much, but I figured seeing almost all of my holiday sweaters was gift enough, at least for the time being.

However, over my short holiday break, I put together a gift for each of them. Knowing that they’d be getting the gift after both Christmas and New Years, I wanted to make sure my gift wasn’t too holiday specific and semi-practical.

What I ended up making for each of them is a 2014 memory jar, or a jar in which you collect memories throughout the year and then on New Year’s Eve you look through your memories to remember all the little things that made the year great. This concept is all over Pinterest, and I’ve always wanted to do it myself, but have never gotten around to it because I didn’t have a cute jar to collect these memories in. Thus, I figured if I removed the obstacle that prevented me from starting, I could probably get others to do it as well.

Using jars, wired ribbon, one garland, twine, and some hot glue, these are the jars I crafted for my wonderful coworkers.

all-jars

As one might suspect, the ones with flowers were for the ladies.

ladies-all

ladies-2
ladies-4

ladies-1

ladies-3

With the flower jars going to the ladies, the non-flower jars went to the guys. And no, your eyes are not mistaken, the jars for the guys are smaller because I figured they were less likely to buy into the concept. But, just as the jars for the ladies were, each guy jar was unique too.

guys-3

guys-2

guys-1

Overall, these jars were really well received. In fact, my coworkers liked them a lot more than I anticipated, expressing to me their intent to collect memories throughout the year. Most of my coworkers have kept their jar at work simply because seeing it on their desk is a consistent reminder to contribute memories as they happen; and, several of them have since added memories to their jars. It could be like many new year resolutions in that their interest in the idea fades, but if nothing else, many of them will have at least a small handful of memories to look back on.

Here’s to 2014 being a memorable year!

12 Days of Holiday Sweaters FAQs December 27, 2013

Posted by angebhart in 12 Days of Holiday Sweaters, arts & crafts, DIY, holiday sweaters, holidays, pinterest.
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Throughout my 12 Days of Holiday Sweaters I was asked various questions about my sweaters. As many of the questions were the same, I decided to treat you all to a frequently asked questions post. The questions and answers are below, but first, here’s the final collection of holiday sweaters.

recap12

Why?
Why not? There was no real driving reason for doing this except that I was in the holiday spirit and feeling crafty. I also get a kick out of holiday sweaters but am too cheap to buy the really good ones. I figured I could craft several good ones for less than what it costs costs to buy one (save for the ones at secondhand stores).

Why 12?
I chose “12 Days of Holiday Sweaters” primarily as a play on “12 Days of Christmas.” Beyond the name, though, my 12 sweaters have no other correlation to the days of Christmas. Ideally, I would have done 25 Days of Holiday Sweaters but I didn’t have the time or the willingness to craft 25 sweaters this holiday season.

Where did you get your sweater ideas?
While I would love to say my sweaters the pure products of my imagination and creativity, I can’t. Some of the sweaters are based on personal connections (Days 2, 5, 8, 10), others were inspired by images I saw on Pinterest, which I pinned to my holiday sweater board. (You should follow me if you don’t already!) However, regardless of the originality of the idea, I tried to add a personal touch to each sweater.

Did you have any help?
I had some help from my older sister. She did a lot of the leg work for Day 3 (which I failed to giver her credit for before…), and she and I made Day 1 together.

Additionally, The Boy was my sounding board (and cheerleader) throughout the whole process.

How long does it take to make a sweater?
It really depends on the complexity of the sweater, as well as how much craft glue and puffy paint there was. Day 10 took about 20 minutes, Day 11 took about an hour, and Day 7 took about 4 hours (but I was simultaneously making two…). Overall, for most of the sweaters, I’d say it took anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours for each.

What materials did you use?
On the majority of my sweaters, I used felt, Aleene’s OK To Wash-It craft glue*, Tulip slick puffy paint, permanent marker, hot glue, jingle bells, buttons, and fluff balls (not really sure if that’s the technical term, but that’s what I call them).

Obviously, some of the sweaters required specific materials that I purchased with purpose (i.e. a baby doll) — however, I did my best to use what I had on hand rather than buying everything new.

*As a side note, and I am receiving nothing for this “endorsement,” I would highly recommend Aleene’s OK To Wash-It glue. I used a couple other glues that I had in my craft supply, but this glue consistently yielded the strongest stick.

How much did you spend on making these sweaters?
This is a hard one to answer because I tried to use whatever I had on hand and I was pretty frugal with all of my supplies. However, I would say between the 11 shirts I had to buy ($65.56) and the supplies I bought (about $40), I spent just over $100 dollars. Definitely not cheap endeavor, but for 11 exciting, creative holiday sweaters that will likely become family heirlooms (in my head anyway), that’s not too bad.

Can you wash the sweaters?
I probably could, but I won’t. I used OK To Wash-It craft glue, which implies my sweaters are washable, but a lot of my sweaters had other components that aren’t washer friendly. For example, Day 7 has googly eyes and Day 12 has a baby doll on it. Basically, what I’m getting at is these sweaters are gems, and I’m not willing to risk destroying my hard work by throwing them in my washing machine.

Any last reflections?
Yes. First, selfies are hard. Second, this forever changed my perspective on what my dog is capable of when I’m not home. Third, cheap, plain male baby dolls are really hard to find. Fourth, a good sweater strikes the oddest yet friendliest of conversations in public spaces.

Overall, I am glad I did 12 Days of Holiday Sweaters. Towards the end, I was losing steam and interest, but I had a fun time crafting them. I think it was a good way for me to express my new-found holiday spirit. And, as an added bonus, I’m forever set on holiday sweaters..

Day 12: Reason for the Season December 25, 2013

Posted by angebhart in 12 Days of Holiday Sweaters, arts & crafts, DIY, holiday sweaters, holidays, pinterest.
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12days-day12

Today is the day! Today is Day 12 of my 12 Days of Holiday Sweaters. Today’s sweater is one of the reasons I event started this holiday venture.

I cannot credit today’s sweater to my own creativity. I actually saw something similar on Pinterest and couldn’t stop laughing. In fact, a couple of my friends saw it there too, pinned it to their own boards, and then sent me direct links to make sure I saw it. Needless to say, this sweater screams Andrea.

However, before I unveil Day 12, let’s do a recap.

recap11

And now for the big reveal…

Inspired by this sweater

And without further ado…

Here is my twelfth and final holiday sweater for the  2013 holiday season:

day12

Unsurprisingly, the shirt is a little front heavy.

reason

 

So there it is. The final holiday sweater.

From the “My First Christmas” shirt to the eyes that close when the baby is laying down, this is without a doubt my favorite sweater of the bunch.

Miss Mocha Jo was also a fan.

with child

 

All jokes aside, it’s been a fabulous holiday season. For the first time in my family’s memory, I actually got into the holiday spirit. I had holiday home decor, I decorated my office (photos may come later…), I made other various holiday crafts, and I even “adopted” a family.

While I had fun with all my decor, crafts and sweaters, “adopting” a family added the most joy to my holiday season. There’s nothing more humbling than knowing you helped make another family’s Christmas morning a little more jolly. I drink my coffee black, but my coffee was plenty sweet this morning.

Happy holidays!

Day 11: Ho Ho Ho! December 24, 2013

Posted by angebhart in 12 Days of Holiday Sweaters, arts & crafts, DIY, holiday sweaters, holidays, Mocha Jo, pinterest.
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12days-day11

 

After nixing the ideas of several very complex sweaters, today’s sweater is simple, but nonetheless festive.

HoHoHo

 

me-ho

While I am a little disappointed that Day 11 isn’t my finest sweater, it did complement the sweaters my sisters wore today. (Both of which were skillfully crafted by me.)

sisters-ho

The sweater also complimented the green Christmas lights that happened to fall around Miss Mocha Jo and me.

ho-mocha2

Little Miss Mocha also sported some Christmas attire of her own. She was, however, very disappointed when I told her she wasn’t a real reindeer.

reindeer

Day 10: Festivus December 23, 2013

Posted by angebhart in 12 Days of Holiday Sweaters, arts & crafts, DIY, holiday sweaters, holidays, pinterest.
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12days-day10

Happy Festivus!

festivusfortherestofus

 

festivus

If you don’t know what Festivus is, then we probably shouldn’t be friends. Given that it’s the holiday season, though, I’ll enlighten you before we part ways. As described by Wikipedia, Festivus is “a well-celebrated parody, has become a secular holiday celebrated on December 23 which serves as an alternative to participating in the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas holiday season.

We can credit the ’90s sitcom Seinfeld for popularizing the holiday, and as Wikipedia explains:

The holiday, as portrayed in the Seinfeld episode, includes practices such as the “Airing of Grievances,” which occurs during the Festivus meal and in which each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed him or her over the past year.

This is me with my grievance.

grievances

Just kidding. For those of you that don’t know, my family’s golden retriever and I have a love-hate relationship in that we’re only friends when no one is looking. Because I’m not shy about liking our family black lab more, it’s a running thing in my family that the golden and I don’t get along.

In reality, she’s far from any actual grievance; and now that I am home with her, the black lab, my chocolate lab, and my immediate family, I don’t really have any grievances to air today. However, just because I haven’t had to air any grievances, that’s not to say I won’t be partaking in the “Feats of Strength.” My dad better watch his back.

Day 9: Fra-gee-lay December 20, 2013

Posted by angebhart in 12 Days of Holiday Sweaters, arts & crafts, Dog, holiday sweaters, holidays, Mocha Jo, pinterest.
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12days-day9

Who doesn’t love a good Christmas story? And by that I mean, who doesn’t love A Christmas StoryThere are so many good quotes from this movie, and I would argue the fra-gee-lay scene might be the most quoted line of the move.

frageelay

This sweater also had a legitimate fragile moment of it’s own. Yesterday, during the 4 hours she was home alone, Miss Mocha Jo decided to get on my dining room table (mind you it’s a tall/bar height table), chew on the nicest pair of scissors I own, chew and consume some craft glue, and chew at the puff paint on my holiday sweater I was letting dry. Between the craft supplies she destroyed and the mess she made when her tummy started hurting (I’ll save you from these images…), my holiday sweater suffered the least.

damaged-goods

The silver lining in her destruction was that she chewed on the easiest piece to replace, and her destruction didn’t prevent me from wearing my holiday sweater today.

my-story

My guess is that Mocha was triple-dog-daring me to prove just how good I am at crafting holiday sweaters.

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